Recipe for a Region
Children ages 10 to 13 consider the ways their climate affects their region, by identifying a type of food unique to the region and selecting (and possibly cooking) a recipe that features that ingredient in this 30+ minute activity.
What's the Point?
- Earth’s systems interact to create the usual temperature and precipitation — or
climate — and make each region special.
- Climate dictates the varieties of plants and animals that inhabit a region. Climate influences human activities, including what clothing and gear we keep on hand and what crops we are able to grow.
- Other regions of the United States are unique in their own way and children living there may have experiences that are different from ours.
For the Facilitator
For Each Group of 10–15 Children
- A selection of cookbooks
- 3–5 (8 ½” x 11”) copies of the Recipe Card for their region, printed double-sided on card stock
- 3–5 pencils or pens
- Optional: Regional foods, either in small quantities for tasting or in large quantities for cooking
- Optional: A regional snack recipe and the ingredients for the children to prepare themselves during the program
- Set out a selection of cookbooks, including any regional children’s cookbooks that are available.
- Share ideas and knowledge.
- Introduce yourself and the library. Help the children learn each other’s names (if they don’t already).
- Frame the activity with the main message: Earth’s systems interact to create the usual temperature and precipitation — or climate — that makes our region special.
- Set the stage for an “Iron Chef”-style activity! Explain that, like a complex recipe, many factors influence a region’s climate, including latitude, elevation, how close it is to large bodies of water like oceans or lakes, ocean and air currents, and whether there are mountains. The children will work in teams to identify a unique food that grows in your region. Like a “secret ingredient” in “Iron Chef,” the teams will focus on this one food as they each search for a kid-friendly recipe that features it.
While they are related, the terms “climate” and “weather” cannot be used interchangeably to describe a region’s environment. Weather can change in a matter of hours or with the seasons, but climate is the typical weather pattern over a long period of time, generally 30 years or more.
The United States consists of several regions that have defined characteristics that are influenced by climate. If you were to travel to a different region, you might expect to pack an entirely different set of clothing than what's in your closet. Be sure to check the weather report before embarking on your excursion, however; it is the nature of weather to not always fit in with what's expected for a region! Regions of the United States can be generally classified as one or more of the following designations:
- High elevations
Your community might be particularly proud of certain characteristics of your region that attract tourists, businesses, farmers, and families — all of which depend on climate! For instance, perhaps there is something about the amount of precipitation, air, and temperature that make the area a good place for growing scrumptious regional delicacies. Tap into — and
foster — local pride with this activity!
- Divide the group into teams of three to four, and assign one of the following categories for each team to plan as they work together to design a full meal (or for larger groups, a banquet with multiple dishes in each category):
- Meat, beans, fish or shellfish, eggs, or nuts;